AN INCEPTION WORKSHOP REPORT

Regional Climate Risk Mitigation Project in the Himalayan Region

The UNDP Bhutan conducted a one-day Inception Workshop on 14th January 2010 at the
College of Natural Resources, in Lobeysa, Wangdue as part of the Regional Climate Risk
Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region. The project, funded by European
Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) under its Disaster Preparedness initiative and
implemented by UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), aims to
develop and implement comprehensive risk management strategies in the Himalayan
region to reduce the risks faced by mountain communities and to mitigate impacts of
hydro-meteorological hazards. The main purpose of the workshop was to
introduce/explain the project activities and components to all relevant stakeholders in
Bhutan and solicit views, suggestions and inputs to fine-tune the implementation
process ..

Representatives1 from the Central and District level Government agencies, technical
agencies, non-governmental organizations, international and regional organizations like
Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), South-West and South Asia Office and
UNDP Bhutan participated during the event. Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel, Punakha
Dzongdag (Chief District Administrator) was the Chief Guest and graced the opening

Opening Ceremony:

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Rajeev Issar, Team Manager, Regional Climate Risk
Reduction Project, UNDP BCPR outlined the rationale for for a synergized and concerted
effort by all national nodal agencies to address the increasing climate-induced hydro-
meteorological hazard and the need for greater regional coordination. He said “we have
never seen cyclones travel far into mainland, away from the coastal region and cause so
much damage as in the case ofCyclone Aila as the past decade has seen intenser
cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal.” the rationale for the Regional Climate Risk
Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region stems from the increasing numbers,
frequency and intensity of climate-induced hydro-meteorological hazard. He also
mentioned about new hazards being introduced due to the processes of climate change
and variability. . The broad framework of the Regional project was also explained to the
gathering. He concluded his address by highlighting the importance of a synergistic
approach and felt that the workshop presented an opportunity to identify areas of
collaboration, build upon existing strengths and capacities, needs and gaps that can be
jointly resolved by combined efforts of all concerned stakeholders, so as to achieve the
objectives of Regional Climate Risk Reduction Project (RCRP) in the Himalayan Region.

In his opening address, the Chief Guest, Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel mentioned that he
was pleased to learn that such an initiative is being led by UNDP and ECHO and that he
was happy to be part of the process. The receding glaciers would impact the country’s
water resources and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in particular would destroy
settlements downstream. Dasho said “People in almost five dzongkhags will be affected
in case of a GLOF and Punakha and Wangdue would be the first victims.” Therefore,
Dasho highlighted the urgent need for better preparedness and more importantly an
effective early warning system for the inhabitants downstream. Given the importance of
socio-economic activities and development taking places along the valley and the
importance of water resources as a key resource, Dasho emphasized that it was
important for us to integrate development plans with risk reduction initiatives.

    List of participants attached in Annex 1.
Moreover, the shift to address climate induced hydro-meteorological hazards holistically
than GLOF alone was appraised. He also highlighted that the Regional Project will
contribute to on-going preparedness, mitigation and risk reduction initiatives that are
being undertaken both by the Government and other development partners. In
conclusion, Dasho urged all participants for active and fruitful deliberations.

The formal opening of the workshop ended with a brief presentation on the RCRRP
project goals, outputs and activities with respect to second phase of the project.


After the opening ceremony, presentations by the nodal agencies on topics mentioned
below and discussion followed:
   1. Presentation on lessons learnt- strengths, weakness and gaps on response during
      Cyclone Aila by Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA.
   2. Group discussion and presentation on Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) assessment on
      Climate-induced hydro-meteorological hazards/disaster by the participants.
   3. Presentation on Glacier Inventory and GLOF Assessment at headwaters of Mangde Chu
      by Dr. Jiro Komori (JICA/JST) and Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and
      Mines, MoEA.
   4. Presentation on status of the GLOF Early Warning System under GLOF FSP project by
      Mr. Karma Dupchu, Hydro-Met Services Division (HMSD), Department of Energy, MoEA.


After each presentation, participants had intense discussion where they raised queries,
gave comments and suggestions. The summarized discussions held on each session are
given below in bullets.

1. Presentation on the RCRRP project goals, outputs and activities by Mr. Kinley Penjor,

          Most participants recognized the criticality of the areas sought to be addressed by
           the Project and felt that some of the project activities and their sustainability will
           require a longer time-frame than envisaged under the project.
          The forum also felt that the Regional Project should prioritize activities requiring
           immediate attention and greater focus and implement these in a phased manner.
          Some of the activities seemed to be very ambitious when compared to the capacity
           of implementing agencies. It was suggested that activities be broken down into
           smaller parts considering implementing capability of the concerned nodal agencies.
          There is also a need for better consolidation, coordination and for Regional Project
           to work very closely with GLOF-FSP and other players such as DDM, DGM and
            There was consensus on the need to strengthen technical and administrative
             competencies of key agencies to carry out some of the activities taking into account
             sustainability and replication of such activities on a wider scale.

2. Presentation on lessons learnt- strengths, weakness and gaps on response during Cyclone
   Aila by Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA.

            The forum was informed that the flood water level reached during flooding caused
             by Cyclone Aila was higher than the water level during 1994 GLOF.
            Experiences suggest that the response, early warning and re-habilitation were not
             so coherent. During emergency times, Dzongkhags were left responding to queries
             of different agencies/departments. Hence, it was urged to follow a standard
             procedure for any information flow and response mechanism.
            Since there were no well established emergency operation centers (EOCs),
             coordination was an issue. Thus, establishment of EOCs were also tabled as a
             priority and that DDM should request the cabinet to issue a directive for
             operationalizing EOCs.
            The forum discussion also saw the need to strengthen communication, early
             warning and search and rescue.
            It was also agreed during the discussion that there was a need to develop a proper
             and standard rapid assessment guideline at all levels.
            Experiences shared also suggest on the need to institute Dzongkhag Emergency

3. Group discussion and presentation on HVR assessment on Climate-induced hydro-
   meteorological hazards/disaster by the participants.

            In this session, the participants were divided into 3 groups based on their relevance
             and proficiency on the subject2. The presentations were based on the group work
             done on the topic.

            Group 1: Hazard database compilation and building a hazard database

            The group noted that there is a need to develop a comprehensive format for data
             compilation and for DDM to take lead on coordination and operation. The members
             agreed to further develop the data compilation template which was shared to the
             forum by Mr. Rajeev Issar.
            The group and the participants confirm that the data should be sourced from
             agencies such as the National Statistical Bureau, nodal agencies, media reports,
             survey and sommunity sonsultation and stakeholders consultation workshops.

 See annex 2 for group members and topics for group discussion. The guiding points for group discussion
were also provided.
   The group and the participants agreed that village focal persons, Gewog Disaster
    Management Committee, District Emergency Operation Centers (DEOC) and
    National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) should anchor hazard database at
    village, Gewog, district and national level respectively.
   In order to make the disaster website dynamic, participants felt the website should
    be regularly updated and include other features such as discussion forum,
    establishment of online linkages, other parameters such as socio-economic and
    cultural sites etc.
   The group and the participants also highlighted on training needs at various levels
    on data collection, analysis and interpretation.

   Group 2: Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) Assessment on hydro-meteorological

   The discussion charted parameters such as frequency, intensity, spatial distribution-
    population distribution and infrastructure, coping capacity of stakeholders and the
    affected areas for HVR assessment.
   Two layers of assessment have been suggested to carry out HVR assessment. First
    layer of course assessment to select a smaller catchment for detailed HVR
   The forum noted that there was lack of technical competencies within the country
    (Bhutan) to carry out HVR assessment. Hence, there is a need to bring in expertise
    to carry out the assessment. However, Department of Geology and Mines,
    Department of Energy, Department of Roads, Ministry of Agriculture, National
    Environment Commission and National Land Commission were identified as
    agencies/institutions that could assist while carrying out the assessment.
   Integration of into National Disaster Risk Management Framework, incorporation
    into National Action Plans and advocacy workshop to all relevant agencies were
    identified as some of the modes for disseminating HVR assessment reports. This will
    help inform the development process at various levels and make it risk averse.
    Besides these, media in all forms have also been suggested as a mode for bringing
    risk assessments closer to communities.
   The group and the participants stated the availability of decade long climate data
    with some of the nodal agencies and emphasized on the need for a climate extreme
    data analysis, development of HVR assessment system and usage of GIS and Remote
    Sensing for hazard assessment.
   Also on capacity needs, they mentioned about risk assessment trainings,
    hydrological modeling and climate forecasting.

   Group 3: Community-based Climate Risk Reduction, Mitigation, Preparedness and
    Intervention Building
          In terms of community based climate risk reduction and preparedness, the group
           considered formation of community disaster management committee and
           sensitization on various preparedness measures.
          Formation of disaster management teams such as search and rescue, first aid and
           medical responders and evacuation were also considered necessary. Since the Royal
           Bhutan Police were always on the forefront in times of emergencies, the discussion
           surrounded on building their professional capacity for search and rescue. It was
           suggested that the community members should form search and rescue task forces
           at community level, while armed force to be part of the core search and rescue
           team at district level.
          Besides these, they also confirmed the need for mock drill sessions at community
          Various mitigation measures proposed by the group during the discussion are
           hazard zonation, afforestation, embankment and resettlement. The establishment
           of a community mitigation fund was also considered.

4. Presentation on Glacier Inventory and GLOF Assessment at headwaters of Mangde Chu by
   Dr. Jiro Komori (JICA/JST) and Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and Mines,

          The forum agreed that the glacial inventory carried out by ICIMOD in 2001-2002 was
           outdated and there is a need for updating. The Regional Project team was requested
           to design activities feeding into current DGM and JICA/JST work on glacial inventory
           in Bhutan.
          The forum was alarmed by some of their findings. The findings suggest that there
           could be more potentially hazardous glacial lakes than 25 as reported earlier by
          The study also showed and confirmed signs of a past GLOF along Mangde chu.
          Under the project, GLOF hazard zonation for Mangde chu and setting up of
           automatic weather station has already been factored.

5. Presentation on status of the GLOF Early Warning System under GLOF FSP project by Mr.
   Karma Dupchu, Hydro-Met Services Division (HMSD), Department of Energy, MoEA.

          The project “Reducing Climate Change-Induced Risks and Vulnerabilities from
           Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Punakha-Wangdue and Chamkhar Valleys”
           funded by UNDP-GEF under LDC funding has three components which are looked
           after by three different divisions/departments. The component of Thorthomi lake
           water level lowering is handled by DGM, while early warning system (EWS)
           installation in Punakha-Wangdue valley by HMSD, DOE and the component of
           strengthening of disaster management and early warning awareness component by
           DDM. Division of labour to achieve targets is good. However, the forum emphasized
           on technical assistance to DDM while carrying out awareness programs.
          The forum repeatedly emphasized on the need to have both manual and automated
           warning system. Manual system as argued was to supplement in times of
           mechanical failure.
          The workshop agreed on the need to build capacity of both technical agencies and
           community levels. Capacity in terms of technical competencies of the technicians,
           equipments and community orientation were highlighted as important components.
           The Regional Project was requested to provide assistance in terms of these capacity
           development initiatives and to work in close collaboration with DDM.
          The forum was informed that HMSD would be able to install some components of
           early warning system at Punakha and Wangdue Valley by June-July 2010, so as to
           facilitate DDM to carry out awareness programs thereafter.
          The forum also discussed issues related to making a dynamic warning system
           not just for the country but also address trans-boundary issues too as the
           neighboring countries are equally at risk.
          The forum was informed by HMSD about the budget shortage of Nu. 1-2
           million for complete installation of EWS all along the valley.


Mr. Karma L Rapten of UNDP Bhutan moderated the workshop for the whole day. He
concluded by thanking all participants for their active participation. He also informed
the forum that a consolidated Regional Work-plan would be sent to them at the earliest
and requested for active collaboration of various agencies and stakeholders concerned.

Annex: 1
   Regional Climate Risk Mitigation Project in the Himalayan Region

List of participants who attended the Inception workshop held on 14 th January 2010 at
CNR, Lobeysa, Wangdue.
     1. Dasho Kuenzang N Namgyel, Punakha Dzongkhag.
     2. Dr. Jamba Gyeltshen, College of Natural Resources (CNR), Lobeysa
     3. Major Tashi Tenzin, Royal Bhutan Army
     4. Major Namgay Dorji, Royal Bhutan Police
     5. Mr. Gyembo Dorji, Disaster Focal person, Ministry of Health.
     6. Mr. Sonam Darjey, National Land Commission
     7. Mr. Kinley Gyeltshen, DFO, Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag
     8. Mr. Chimmi Wangchuk, DEO, Bumthang Dzongkhag
   9. Ms. Rebecca Pradhan, RSPN
   10. Mr. Ugyen Tenzin, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA
   11. Ms Karma Doma Tshering, Chief Programme Officer, DDM, MoHCA
   12. Mr. Chencho Tshering, Project Manager, DDM, MoHCA
   13. Mr. Jiro Komori, JICA Expert/Technical expert, JICA/JOCV, Bhutan
   14. Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, Department of Geology and Mines.
   15. Mr. Karma Drupchu, Project Manager, HMSD, Department of Energy,MoEA
   16. Mr. Thinley Namgyel, National Environment Commission
   17. Ms. Tshewang Dema, Gross National Happiness Commission
   18. Ms. Kuenzang L Sangay, Gross National Happiness Commission
   19. Mr. Pema Gyelpo, Tarayana Foundation
   20. Ms. Jigme Choki, DEO, Punakha Dzongkhag
   21. Mr. Thinley Wangchuk, SNV, Bhutan
   22. Mr. Sonam Tobgay, Bhutan Broadcasting Service(BBS)
   23. Mr. Kuenzang Thinley, Bhutan Broadcasting Service(BBS)
   24. Ms. Phuntsho Choden, Kuensel
   25. Mr. Rajeev Issar, UNDP BCPR, Delhi
   26. Mr. Karma Rapten, UNDP Bhutan
   27. Ms. Anne Erica Larsen, UNDP Bhutan
   28. Mr. Karma Chogyel, UNDP Bhutan
   29. Ms. Sonam Rabgye, UNDP Bhutan
   30. Ms. Shairi Mathur, RC Office, UNDP Bhutan
   31. Mr. Kinley Penjor, UNDP Bhutan

Annex: 2
Group 2
Team members: Representative from
   1.   DEO, Punakha Dzongkhag
   2.   Mr. Ugyen Tenzin, CPO, DDM, MoHCA
   3.   Ms Kuenzang Lham, GNHC
   4.   Mr Chimi Wangchuk, DEO, Bumthang Dzongkhag Administration
   5.   DFO, Wangdue phodrang Dzongkhag
   6.   Kuensel
   7.   College of Natural Resources, Lobaysa

Guiding points:
   1. How do we start to build a hazard/disaster database?
   2. Mention various available sources-e.g. media, government documents, word of
       mouth, etc
   3. What indicators or parameters are to be included on the website?
   4.   Operational issues related to database website.
   5.   Anchor- at National level
   6.   Anchor at district level.
   7.   How to make the website dynamic?
   8.   Training needs for operators.

Group 2
Team Members: Representative from
   1. Ms Karma Doma, DDM, MoHCA
   2. Mr Thinley Namgay, National Environment Commission (NEC)
   3. National Land Comission ( Mr Shankar or Mr Sonam Dargay)
   4. Mr. Phuntsho Tshering, DGM, MoEA
   5. Dr. Jiro Komori, JICA Expert/JICA/JOCV Bhutan
   6. Mr. Karma Drupchu, HMSD, Department of Energy

Topic for discussion: Hazard Vulnerability Risk (HVR) Assessment for hydro-
meteorological hazards
Guiding points:
   1. Try to develop a methodology for HVR assessment for hydro-meteorological
   2. Do we have enough technical competencies within the country to carry out this
       task- if so identify technical agencies and experts who can carry out HVR
   3. Once such assessments are done, how do we publish or disseminate the reports?
   4. Also how do we make best use of the information generated- use in planning,
       management and developmental process etc?
   5. Initially, such HVR assessment will be done only in one district. Once this is done,
       how do we scale up?
   6. Capacity building needs to carry out HVR assessment?

Group 3
Team Members: Representative from
   1. Health Ministry
   2. Mr Chencho Tshering, CPO, DDM, MoHCA
   3. Dasho Namgay Dorji, SP-Punakha, RBP
   4. Ms Tshewang Dema, GNHC
   5. Ms Rebecca Pradhan, RSPN
   6. Mr. Pema Gyelpo, Tarayana Foundation
   7. Ministry of Education
   8. Mr. Thinley Wangchuk, SNV Bhutan
   9. Major Tashi Tenzin, Disaster Focal Person, Royal Bhutan Army
Topic for discussion: Community-based Climate Risk Reduction, Mitigation,
Preparedness and Intervention Building.
Guiding points:
   1. Identify some low cost local level risk reduction and preparedness measures
   2. Community based natural resources management- forestation, mountain eco-
       system, water-shed management, using traditional/ indigenous methods etc
   3. Land use management practices
   4. Identification or formation of search and rescue team at Geog level as well as at
       district level. For e.g At a district level, can RBP and RBA personal make up the
       district search and rescue team.
   5. The first medical response teams both at Geog and District level.
   6. Modules on disaster management for school curricula. Will this help? If so, how
       do we go about?
   7. Along with modules on DM in school curricula, try to look at local
       BHUs,/hospitals/ clinics/ community centre preparedness and aware of what to
       do in a disaster situation.
   8. Adaptation strategies - Coping mechanism of the community - Building
       resilience, strengthening response i.e. household savings, micro-credit, women’s
       self-help groups, alternative livelihoods etc.

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